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Amazon Treasure

Amazon Treasure

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Amazon Treasure

Länge:
303 Seiten
4 Stunden
Herausgeber:
Freigegeben:
Oct 1, 2011
ISBN:
9781937329167
Format:
Buch

Beschreibung

A quiet, conservative teacher who’s lived in one small Virginian town all her life, Marisa Elliott plunges into a desperate adventure when she meets Scott Dunbar a devilishly handsome pilot, who is apparently down on his luck. Marissa tells him she’s searching for her Confederate ancestors who fled to Brazil during the Civil War. She persuades him to take her far into the jungles of the Amazon, but she doesn’t tell him her relatives have offered to give back the bank money they absconded with so long ago—money her father wants her to bring home to clear the Elliott name.
Herausgeber:
Freigegeben:
Oct 1, 2011
ISBN:
9781937329167
Format:
Buch

Über den Autor


Buchvorschau

Amazon Treasure - Pinkie Paranya

She’s in Brazil on a secret mission for her father…

A quiet, conservative teacher who’s lived in one small Virginian town all her life, Marisa Elliott plunges into a desperate adventure when she meets Scott Dunbar a devilishly handsome pilot, who is apparently down on his luck. Marisa tells him she’s searching for her Confederate ancestors who fled to Brazil during the Civil War. She persuades him to take her far into the jungles of the Amazon, but she doesn’t tell him her relatives have offered to give back the bank money they absconded with so long ago—money her father wants her to bring home to clear the Elliott name.

He has an agenda all his own…

Once burned in a bad marriage, Scott Dunbar hates commitment of any kind. To him, love is a four-letter word. He wants Marisa, though he knows she’s not the kind of girl to settle for a one-night stand. Or is she? He’s hiding something, but then, so is she. He just can’t figure out what. Is she really here to find her missing relatives? Or is her mission something much more sinister?

KUDOS FOR AMAZON TREASURE

Our two main characters, Marisa and Scott, are an unlikely match—a small-town, conservative schoolteacher and a rough and tumble, ex-pat pilot with a penchant for archeology and a thirst for danger—and for Marisa, of course. But our girl knows what she wants, or at least what she doesn’t want, which is a one-night stand—no matter how sexy and tempting Scott is. He thinks that’s a shame, and I tended to agree with him, though I can kind of see her point. Still, given a choice between a fling with a hunk and my virtue, I confess my virtue would probably lose. When the two bicker and she goes off on her own with just a native guide who doesn’t want to be there, things really get interesting. The writing’s good, the story’s charming, and the plot’s got enough surprises to keep you happily turning pages. So grab a cup of tea, put dibs on your favorite spot on the couch, sit back, and enjoy Amazon Treasure! – Taylor, Reviewer

Amazon Treasure by Pinkie Paranya is a sweet, contemporary romantic suspense. I’d call it a romantic action/adventure, but I’m not sure that’s a legitimate genre. Still, when a woman goes off to Brazil seeking lost treasure, romantic suspense seems too mild a term. This novel has more of an Indiana Jones feeling to it than a normal romantic suspense. I especially liked the way the author described Brazil. Her detailed descriptions and vivid scene settings made me feel like I’d been there. As I’ve always wanted to go to Brazil, but have never had the chance, this was a treat. If you’re in the mood for a sweet, intriguing romance, with plenty of action, but without all the sex and violence so common in novels today, Amazon Treasure is a good bet. – Regan, Reviewer

AMAZON TREASURE

Pinkie Paranya

A BLACK OPAL BOOKS PUBLICATION

Copyright 2006 by Pinkie Paranya

Cover Art by Black Opal Books

Copyright 2011 All Rights Reserved

ISBN: 978-1-937329-16-7

EXCERPT

She couldn’t do what he asked...could she?

Scott was laughing at her again. If you are determined to settle down in the suburbs one day, then you shouldn’t object to having a bush pilot for a lover, just as a temporary measure, he said with a mischievous look in his eyes.

Marisa tried to match his lightness, although the subject was serious to her. I don’t see how that would work, she protested with a smile.

He stood and stretched lazily. Before she guessed his intentions, he pulled her close, kissing the tip of her nose and nibbling at the corners of her lips. At first she tried to push him away, but he didn’t budge.

She could feel the strength of his hand pressing against the back of her neck and felt herself mold to the lean, male hardness of his body.

The protest died within her as a wellspring of warmth flowed through her veins, and she responded to his kisses with a depth of passion she had not realized she possessed.

CHAPTER 1

Marisa should have found her circumstances terrifying, but anger blinded her. The stolen money, the promised inheritance, her father’s constant doubts as to her ability to do anything on her own—none of these should have compelled her to come here. Impatiently, she tapped her boot on the macadam of the Brazilian airport. Why was it so difficult to hire a private plane to take her into the jungle of Mato Grosso? Here she was in Brasilia, the capital city, and she might as well have been invisible.

She’d spoken to one pilot after another. Polished, wearing suits and ties, they looked like businessmen from any American city. Most spoke varying degrees of English but could have spoken in Portuguese for all that it mattered. They looked her over with admiring stares, taking inexcusable liberties with their dark, liquid eyes, and then promptly turned away when she asked them about Mato Grosso.

What was her stubbornness costing this time? Coming here, so far from her comfortable niche, wasn’t the first time she had burned her bridges. Dabbing perspiration from her forehead, she remembered the cold, raw wind of winter pushing against her back as she left Virginia. Heat was better.

In the next hangar, Marisa spied a pair of broad shoulders connected to long, brown arms, leaning over scattered parts that could once have belonged to an airplane. She eyed the untidy pile of tools with distaste as she stepped over them, edging closer to the man.

Excuse me. Do you speak English? she asked.

The man turned slowly to face her. Marisa saw her own reflection in his rimless, aviator sunglasses. A tall, slender young woman, with honey-blonde hair escaping from its usual prim twist at the nape of her neck, wrinkled her nose at the image just as he removed the glasses. She was completely unprepared for the cool gray eyes fringed in dark lashes that returned her stare. The slight sprinkle of silver mixed with his almost-black hair gave him a certain dignity of appearance he probably didn’t deserve. His lips parted in a wide grin, and white teeth contrasted against the honey-nut tan of his face.

Yep, I speak English.

Is this your employer’s plane? She pointed to a shiny new craft near the rear of the hangar.

He looked puzzled for a moment, as if he didn’t understand her question and then down at his grease-stained hands and clothing. A dark blue T-shirt molded his chest, and his tanned legs protruded from cutoff jeans.

You might say that.

It took him so long to answer she wanted to walk away. She felt bedraggled, grimy, discouraged, and plain tired. Her funds were too dangerously limited to let her stay in the city any length of time, waiting for someone to take her into the jungle.

Is there any way I could speak to your boss? She tried to match his easy nonchalance.

He scratched his chin reflectively, rasping the short, dark stubble, and further grating against her taut nerves. His expression reflected some secret amusement he apparently did not plan to share with her.

Why?

I don’t see as it’s any of your business. She struggled for composure. The oaf enjoyed her discomfort. Why let him get the better of the situation? Besides, he might be a pilot. He looked like a pilot.

I need to get to Mato Grosso.

He leaned against the workbench and folded his arms across his chest. How many in your party?

Only me.

You? Alone? Forget it!

But why not? I’m prepared to pay. Within reason.

The grin returned for a brief second, softening the hard planes of his jaw, and then faded. Why the Matos, of all places? You’re a tourist, aren’t you? Then go take a tour.

To avoid waiting for the next expression of sarcasm to come into his eyes, she looked down at her heeled boots and kicked a small stone with savage intensity. No, I’m not a tourist. I didn’t come down here to sightsee, if that’s what you mean. She wasn’t going to tell him about the treasure. The man was obviously an American adventurer, probably stranded here through lack of self-discipline and common sense, and not to be trusted. It was as if she stood in the middle of an old Humphrey Bogart movie.

If your ladyship cares to sit, I’ll get a couple of cold ones out of the fridge. He motioned her toward a scruffy-looking couch.

Marisa sat gingerly on the edge, expecting any moment that some loathsome creature would crawl onto her leg. She could abide snakes if they kept their distance, but she hated bugs of any kind.

Now. Tell me all about it. He cocked a dark eyebrow at her, stretching out his long legs as if he had all the time in the world.

Maybe he had time, but she didn’t. The pressure to get to the bottom of her family’s mystery money and find out what happened to Sara had become like a boulder teetering just above her head.

CHAPTER 2

Marisa swallowed her pride along with the cool drink, and tugged her beige plaid skirt down, although it already reached the calves of her legs. This rude man seemed willing to listen to her story, and she was out of options.

I’ve traveled from Elliott, Virginia. Elliott’s a small town, you’ve probably never heard of it. She took a deep breath. Couldn’t I tell this to your employer to save time? You know, cut out the middleman?

He shook his head. Nope. All our projects have to clear through me first.

How she despised that macho smugness. Luckily she didn’t run into it much in her own circle of friends. My father lost the use of his legs in a car accident, which left him permanently confined to a wheelchair.

He waited, not interrupting.

In short, since I’m sure your time is very valuable... Marisa’s voice barely concealed the mockery as she glanced at the large, sensible dial on her watch.

Oh, hey, I have time. His jaunty wave and airy disregard for sarcasm annoyed her more than any retort he might have made.

My father’s dream, obsession actually, has been to write a book about our ancestors, those who left Virginia just after the Civil War started and came to Brazil. What he really wanted to do was clear the name of their infamous bank robber ancestor, but she wouldn’t tell this stranger that. Since my father couldn’t come to Brazil himself, I volunteered to help him.

Go on.

Sure, she’d wanted to get away from Thomas long enough to think over her future. Yet she hadn’t wanted to leave the familiar niche of her life. A desire for adventure had never been an incentive to alter her comfortable lifestyle. At this moment she’d never felt so alone and vulnerable, and she realized belatedly how safe and secure she’d felt with her fiancé.

The pilot ran his fingers through thick, dark hair, his expression confused, as if sensing her pain. Are you okay? You look pale all of a sudden.

She tried for a casual shrug. Everything’s fine. I guess I’m tired, that’s all. It hurt to remember her last conversation with her father.

You don’t look much like an outdoors person, the man said. That would be the very minimum requirement if I ever took a female into the Matos.

I teach, or used to teach school in Elliott.

No! I’d have never guessed it.

His mocking grin engaged her in spite of the jibe, but she decided to ignore it.

You did say ‘used to teach,’ didn’t you?

Marisa didn’t want to get into that sore subject, but the stranger waited for an answer and her habitual politeness kept her reply civil. I taught learning-disabled children. It might help if she could get the subject out in the open with an outsider. A different perspective could be good. On the other hand, this man seemed very judgmental, and she’d had enough of that from her father. No, she couldn’t tell this pilot about her failures.

And? he persisted.

She shrugged. Too many complications, too many disappointments. I just wasn’t good at it. Not to mention Thomas hated to see her so stressed.

Ah, that won’t wash. You have the look of a person who’d stop at nothing to achieve what she set out to do.

She lifted her chin higher. Was that supposed to be a compliment? You don’t know anything about me. On second thought, it wasn’t helping to talk about leaving the school. Knowing she’d abandoned the children left an empty hole in her middle. It had been a hard decision, but Kenny’s suicide had sealed it for her.

I know enough. So what now? He folded his arms across his chest.

Marisa raised her palms. Who knows? I may start teaching again at the college. It’s what my father wanted for me at first. Or work full time at the newspaper instead of only summers.

You work for a newspaper?

If she operated an atomic waste dump, he couldn’t have looked more dubious.

Yes. I have a friend who owns a small newspaper in town. I’ve just started in the want ads department. Why hadn’t she said the word fiancé? Perhaps because she wasn’t used to the word .It wasn’t official, just that in Elliott everyone knew. An unusual caution made her refrain from explaining further how she hoped to earn a cover article for the Sunday supplement. A trip from Virginia to Brazil to search into the life of one’s ancestor who ran off with bank funds during the Civil War should be a great human interest story.

The mocking eyebrow barely descended. What’s all this have to do with your ancestors?

Was he reading her mind? That made her very uncomfortable. I’m trying to explain. Three generations of grandparents ago—in the ’eighteen-sixties—that would make me a great-great-granddaughter, or something close. Sensing his attention waning—an instinctive knowledge that came with being a teacher, she supposed—she hurried on. A group from Virginia gathered up a large family, none of them wanting to face the idea of fighting one another. They moved to Brazil about a year after the Civil War started in The States. They settled in the Mato Grosso area.

He studied her face, as if searching for a hint of deception. I’ve been all over Brazil. I know about the Yellowhairs. I’ve heard of settlements in Santiago and Beleaguer and I think there is one at Manaus. Of course everyone knows about Americana, near Rio. But not Mato Grosso. His tone was adamant.

Yellowhairs?

He nodded. That’s what they call them here. They don’t mix much with the locals. Most have held onto their English, even celebrate the Fourth of July and other American holidays. If there were any in the Matos, I doubt they’d even be civilized, much less speak English anymore.

"Oh, but they do! That’s why I’m here. Sara is the matriarch in Mato Grosso, she’s called a Madrinha. She’s been corresponding with my father for ages."

"Madrinha? That’s Godmother. Spanish is madronas. A very powerful title and not many use it. It’s earned with age or deeds, I suppose."

In her last letter she wrote that they had trouble but she didn’t say what kind, and after that we never received any more letters. We’re very concerned something has happened to her.

That’s another reason why you don’t need to go. It could be anything. That’s wild country.

I’ve done my research too. American refugees did settle in some of those places you mentioned, but after the war. Our family left during the war and stayed separate in Mato Grosso.

I heard rumors about a tribe of light-skinned people near that area, he conceded. "Some garimpeiros came back from the mines talking about them."

"Garimpeiros?"

"Yeah, gold miners. A gold mine is a garimpo. I never ran into any Yellowhairs near the Matos. If they exist, they keep to themselves and don’t welcome outsiders. Most assuredly, they wouldn’t welcome your prying. I don’t suppose you know that the Matos is roughly twice the size of Texas. You talk like it’s a town. It’s not a town. It’s an area."

Before she could gasp out a proper rebuttal, he spoke again.

Do you know me? A wary skepticism showed plainly on his rugged profile.

She knew her expression must have reflected confusion. Should I? Are you a famous movie star hiding out here to escape autograph hounds? She laughed at the bizarre image, but he was not amused.

I have my reasons.

Look. I arrived here two hours ago. I’m tired, hot and... She almost said frightened, but she could not afford to let this stranger see her weakness.

I apologize if I was rude, but—

Well you should. You come on like some CIA professional. Of course I don’t know you.

He jiggled coins in his pocket and gazed at the floor for a moment before he spoke. When he looked up, he appeared a little chastened.

About time you lost some of your cool, Mr. Macho Man.

I’ve had a nasty episode with a female barracuda, a reporter from one of those weekly rags. I’m not looking forward to another encounter. Although I must admit, you’re much prettier and it might be worth the trouble.

I fail to see how your meeting with a reporter concerns me. I told you I’m only in advertising. I work in the office. Really, the man was insufferable.

I hope it doesn’t concern you, he agreed, unruffled by her barely-controlled hostility. I do a bit of amateur archaeology here and the Brazilian government has certain inflexible rules. One is, no publicity about my findings.

So? Who cares? Marisa thought the words, but worked to restrain her response. Her father always told her she was too quick to react, to judge. Deep down she knew he was probably right and that hurt. Sometimes she felt as brittle and taut as a thin piece of plastic, no longer able to bend, and ready to snap in two. She waited for him to continue.

He tilted his head to swig the cold drink. She watched the clean lines of his jaw as he swallowed. He could have been a cover model for a survivalist magazine. All he’d need to complete the image would be to put a holster loaded with a gun and bullets around his shoulder. Marisa had no experience with this type, so dominant, tough, and good-looking in a rugged sort of way. His blatant masculinity made her uncomfortable. She’d known Thomas since grade school, and he was as comfortable to be with—as if he were already family.

His eyes changed to a dark smoky color when he turned away from the light. This reporter, or whatever she called herself, appeared under the guise of someone needing a lift to a remote area. Come to find out, she had researched me up and down, interviewed my friends and the people at the museum, and put together some shoddy, half-baked article. Ninety percent of it was in her imagination. The Brazilian government gave me holy hell and nearly kicked me out. He shook his head as if he still did not believe it. Can you blame me for not trusting you?

I can’t blame you for feeling as you do, but I’ve told you why I’m here. I don’t know anything about your hobby nor do I want to.

Thomas hadn’t wanted her to go, but as long as she was determined, he threw in an advance toward a future article or series. If she didn’t find her relatives, or what was left of them, she’d have to bring back something and a story about a soldier of fortune hunting for artifacts in the jungle might be a good alternative. Still, even if this man never read a Virginia paper or found out she’d written an article about him, it wasn’t ethical, since he’d objected so strenuously. Anyway, it was irrelevant because he’d plainly brushed her off.

Marisa stood and slipped on her shoulder bag. Thanks for the drink. I saw a couple of hangars left to try, so I’d best be on my way. It’ll soon be dark.

Not so fast! His shoulders blocked her exit and the view of the sun beyond the door.

She felt a surge of panic before bringing it under control. She couldn’t identify the expression on his face.

I didn’t refuse to go, did I? But I didn’t say I would either, he added. In the first place, it’s a dumb thing to do. Few men, let alone an unescorted white female, needs to roam through that jungle. You don’t even speak our language.

Our language? You aren’t Brazilian.

He scowled, his brows crashing together. If he could have changed colors under his tan, she felt he would have flushed. She must have hit a nerve under his unflappable exterior.

Damn it, I’ve been here long enough. It’s my home. Anyway, you get the drift. It can’t be done.

Just as she’d suspected. He couldn’t go back to the States for some reason. I have to find them. There are families in that area of the swamps, the same as here in Brasilia or in Rio or those other places in the Amazon that you spoke of. Roads go through there. What’s the big deal?

The grin he gave her did not quite make it to his eyes.

Of course, families exist out there. Generations of survivors. Hardy men and women who’ve eked out an existence against all odds. His gaze moved away from her face to the wide-open door of the hangar and beyond. In spite of disease, venomous snakes, insects of every variety, and hostile natives, plus the constant threat of some mercenary wandering by and raiding them, they stuck it out. But not in the Matos. I’d bet on it. That’s the worst place of the lot.

Thought you didn’t know much about the Yellowhairs.

I don’t. Only what I hear and read in the archives.

I still don’t see—

What I’m trying to say as politely as possible, is that if these Yellowhairs are still in the Matos, the government probably relocated them by now, up near the Amazon, where most of the Indians live. You wouldn’t last a day out there. I’m not about to take on that responsibility.

Don’t you think that might be up to your employer? I take it you’re a pilot. Seems to me there’s a lot of competition, with all those planes out on the runway. Your boss might not be so willing to turn away a Yankee dollar.

He tilted his head and laughed, in a way that ordinarily might have charmed her. Yankee, did you say? You sure as hell don’t sound like any Yankee I ever heard.

That was a figure of speech, she retorted.

She shrugged off the tiredness in her shoulders and straightened her back to her full five-feet-seven inches and tried to stare him down. It didn’t work. She still had to bend her neck to look up at him.

Okay. So you aren’t even going to give my offer to your boss. Surely there is another pilot you could recommend? I’m going to the Mato Grosso if I have to backpack in there alone. She no longer bothered hiding her frustration.

He eyed her for a moment without speaking and shrugged, his voice tinged with obvious misgivings. I think you’d do that. Sure, some pilots might offer to take you.

Good! she said. Point me in their direction and I’ll be out of your way in a jiffy.

"You have to be the most inflexible, uncompromising woman in the world! Maybe it’s true. You do descend from the Yellowhairs. That’s where your eyes came from, and you sure have the same pigheaded obstinacy. Some of these pilots have about as many scruples as you do patience. It would be like setting a lamb

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